So these readings do a bit more digging into topics discussed last week, primarily the idea of promoting student exploration. The Quinn and Bell article discuss the potential benefits of moving away from the normal method of every student learning the same skill at the same time, progressing linearly and discretely through a textbook to a more real world model of the scientific/engineering community. They advocate allowing students to design and make their own experiments, exploring topics that they find interesting. They also advocate having students working together, meshing their interests, allowing for the particular skills they have developed through their individual investigations to complement each other. That development of social interactions and laboratory rapport is very useful in a real world science or engineering setting. One key point Quinn and Bell emphasize is the importance of professional development in teacher training. After all, any old teacher could perform simple information transfer, but it takes a well trained teacher to adequately guide a student down whatever path they want to explore.
The other article discusses the importance of museums and other extra-curricular resources. This reading in particular resonated with me because I love going to the museums. Museums are a good resource because they have access to a whole bunch of resources that a typical teacher might not: interactive displays, exhibits, cool movies, and dinosaur skeletons. This same concept applies to other extra-curricular opportunities. Botanic Gardens and nature centers offer excellent opportunities to observe different ecosystems. These also present a good opportunity for students to escape the classroom and learn in a more fun, relaxed setting.